CFP: “Transcendentalism: Men and Women Conversing”

In a collaborative call from the Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott Societies, we invite proposals for papers to be presented at the next Thoreau Gathering in Concord, MA (July 11-14, 2019) on dialogues between men and women of the Transcendentalist movement. When Emerson looked back at Transcendentalism, in “Historic Notes of Life and Letters in New England,” he recalled men and women who read adventurously, became friends, formed a club for conversation, and launched  a magazine. They were talkers as well as solitaries. Across the apparent divide of gender, what did they have to talk about?

Papers might closely study an individual dialogue or consider the broader dynamics of two or more writers within or alongside the movement. All conversation was not face-to-face; instead, in keeping with the Gathering’s 2019 theme, “Nature, Technology, and the Connected Life,” it was also made possible by the post office that delivered letters, the railroad that enabled travel, and the print industry that opened authorship in books and periodicals.

The following list suggests only some areas of possibility:

  • Mary Moody Emerson’s exchange of letters with Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Mary Moody Emerson’s conversation with Henry David Thoreau, as reported by Thoreau
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson’s exchanges of letters and opinion with Margaret Fuller
  • Fuller editing Thoreau as editor of the Dial
  • Much more on the Dial: perhaps Caroline or Ellen Sturgis’ poems and their reception, or any dialogues within or between issues
  • Fuller’s social vision in re Orestes Brownson’s or Theodore Parker’s or W.H. Channing’s
  • Fuller’s Conversations, with vs. without male participation
  • Elizabeth Palmer Peabody and Bronson Alcott as educators at the Masonic Temple school
  • Peabody publishing Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” in Aesthetic Papers
  • Thoreau and the women of his family as antislavery activists
  • Interactions across gender at Brook Farm or Fruitlands
  • Louisa May Alcott and her father
  • Louisa May Alcott’s fictional or poetic representations of Emerson and/or Thoreau
  • Lydia Maria Child on the movement from New York: definitions and satires; her own practical Transcendentalism (urban reform, antislavery , Croton water) vs. Emerson’s or Thoreau’s or ?
  • Fictional refractions of Emersonian thought by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Mary Gove Nichols, Margaret Sweat, or ?
  • Caroline Dall as sponsor of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Woman” at the 1855 Boston women’s rights convention
  • Acknowledgement of or resistance to Emerson or Thoreau or another male transcendentalist by your choice of feminist author or activist
  • Dall’s history of the movement in “Transcendentalism in New England” (1895)
  • The gender divide and its overcoming in history or criticism of the Transcendentalist movement

This will be a peer-reviewed panel. Please send one-page proposals and short c.v.’s to Phyllis Cole (pbc2 [at] psu [dot] edu) or David Greenham  (David [dot] Greenham [at] uwe [dot] ac [dot] uk) by Nov. 26. Decisions will be made by Dec. 15. Inquiries are welcome at any point.

Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive

Screenshot 2017-05-28 at 7.34.17 PM
A textual map of Fuller’s writings in the Tribune

The Margaret Fuller Transnational Archive is a digital humanities project housed in Northeastern University’s NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks (NULabTMN). The aim of the project is to digitally map networks of publication involving Margaret Fuller and the circles of European and American political and cultural figures, including Horace Greeley, and Giuseppe Mazzini and Cristina Trivulzio di Belgiojoso with whom she came into contact during the years 1846-1850, when she lived in Europe.

Between 1846 and 1850, Margaret Fuller was a foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New-York Tribune, based at different times in Italy, France and England. The archive collects all of Fuller’s Tribune correspondence written between August 1846 and January 1850, as well as the Tribune Correspondence of Christina di Belgiojoso from 1850 and 1851. Browse the archive here.

Using Neatline exhibits, the creators have been able to spatially and temporally visualize both Margaret Fuller’s and Cristina Belgiojoso’s travels and writing. The textual and geographic maps demonstrate broader trajectories of writing to highlighting specific texts in conjunction with contemporary social and political events. View the travel and writing maps here.

Many thanks to Sonia Di Loreto, William Bond, and Sarah Payne for presenting this work at the ALA 2017 Conference.

Project Team & Advisory Board

Sonia Di Loreto, Università di Torino (Italy)

Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern University

Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University

Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Director of Digital and Book History Initiatives, AAS

William Bond, PhD student, Norheastern University

Sarah Payne, PhD student, Northeastern University

Leslie Eckel, Suffolk University

Noelle A. Baker, independent scholar